By now, it’s no secret that Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel was exceptionally polarizing upon its release in June 2013, the highly-destructive Battle of Metropolis serving as one of the most contentious points. In the years since, numerous defenses of the film’s finale have been made, but for the most part, the consensus remains that the director went too far in staging the showdown between Superman and General Zod.
Snyder is attempting to make amends by using the Metropolis fallout as a springboard into the central conflict for his Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, with Bruce Wayne witnessing up close what Kryptonians are capable of. Even if the new film ends up justifying Man of Steel in the end, it still probably won’t change the feeling that the Superman reboot featured too many civilian casualties for its own good. And to Snyder, that’s a criticism that doesn’t make sense.
In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Snyder recalled a conversation he had with somebody who told him that Man of Steel had the most collateral damage out of any movie in recent memory. In response, Snyder brought up J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: The Force Awakens, saying that movie must have featured a higher death total with what transpires:
“I went, really? And I said, well, what about [‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’]? In ‘Star Wars’ they destroy five planets with billions of people on them. That’s gotta be one of the highest death toll movies in history, the new ‘Star Wars’ movie, if you just do the math.”
Snyder does have a point that Star Wars 7 does kill off a great number of people, realistically far more than a single city (given that an entire planetary system was destroyed). However, it could be argued that he’s missing the larger picture. In The Force Awakens, the sequence Snyder brings up was used to illustrate the threat of the First Order and the power of Starkiller base. It was an intentional act on the villains’ part so the audience had a concrete reason to root against them. For Man of Steel, the biggest complaint wasn’t necessarily the action, it was that Superman himself (the hero) was fairly reckless in his confrontation with Zod as the two fought in a highly-populated area. To some fans, that went against the values of the character and upset them.
It’s a debate that will continue to rage on, and there may not be a “right” or “wrong” side. In his modernization of the Superman mythos, Snyder looked to imagine the character existing in our world and what would happen if a super-powered alien showed up. With two god-like figures duking it out, there were sure to be buildings collapsing and unintended deaths. It was Zod’s mission to ruin as much of Metropolis as he could, so even if Kal-El took him to a more remote location, Zod would probably have brought the fight back to the city. Yes, Snyder could have demonstrated a little restraint and toned down the third act so it didn’t go on for so long, but it was always his intention to highlight the consequences of such an occurrence – something that would eventually lead to the formation of the Justice League.
Some filmmakers have admitted previous mistakes, but there’s something to admire in Snyder’s dedication to Man of Steel. It’s obviously a topic he feels very strongly about and his position on the subject has not wavered since viewers were introduced to the new Superman. At the same time, it’s probably best for everyone (including Snyder and moviegoers) to move on and just look ahead. The Battle of Metropolis happened and no matter how impassioned the discussion surrounding it becomes, there’s no way to change it.
Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice opens on March 25th, 2016, followed by Suicide Squad on August 5th, 2016;Wonder Woman on June 23rd, 2017; Justice League Part One on November 17th, 2017; The Flashon March 16th, 2018; Aquaman on July 27th, 2018; Shazam on April 5th, 2019; Justice League Part Two on June 14th, 2019; Cyborgon April 3rd, 2020; and Green Lantern Corps. on June 19th, 2020.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens is out on Blu-ray April 5, 2016.
Source: The Wall Street Journal